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System Shock 2

System Shock 2

The cover art of System Shock 2, depicting the Von Braun and main antagonist SHODAN.

Developer(s) Irrational Games
Looking Glass Studios
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Night Dive Studios (digital)
Director(s) Doug Church, Ken Levine
Producer(s) Josh Randall
Designer(s) Ken Levine
Programmer(s) Rob Fermier
Artist(s) Gareth Hinds
Writer(s) Ken Levine
Composer(s) Eric Brosius, Ramin Djawadi, Josh Randall
Engine Dark Engine[1]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
  • NA August 11, 1999[2]
  • WW June 18, 2013[3]
  • WW April 1, 2014[4]
Genre(s) First-person shooter, action role-playing,[5] survival horror[6]
Mode(s) Single-player, cooperative

System Shock 2 is a first-person shooter action role-playing survival horror video game for Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux, designed by Ken Levine and co-developed by Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios. Originally intended to be a standalone title, its story was changed during production into a sequel to the 1994 PC game System Shock; the alterations were made when Electronic Arts—who owned the System Shock franchise rights—signed on as publisher. System Shock 2 was released on August 11, 1999, in North America.

The game takes place on board a starship in a cyberpunk depiction of 2114. The player assumes the role of a soldier trying to stem the outbreak of a genetic infection that has devastated the ship. Like System Shock, gameplay consists of combat and exploration. It incorporates role-playing system elements, in which the player can develop skills and traits, such as hacking and psionic abilities.

System Shock 2 received positive reviews, but failed to meet commercial sales expectations. Many critics later determined that the game was highly influential in subsequent game design, particularly on first-person shooters, and considered it far ahead of its time. It has been included in several "greatest games of all time" lists. In 2007, Irrational Games released a spiritual successor to the System Shock series, titled BioShock, to critical acclaim and strong sales.


  • Gameplay 1
  • Plot 2
    • Backstory 2.1
    • Plot 2.2
  • History 3
    • Development 3.1
    • Release 3.2
    • End-of-support and source code leak 3.3
    • Intellectual property debacle and re-release 3.4
  • Reception 4
    • Possible sequel 4.1
    • Spiritual successors 4.2
  • References 5
  • External links 6


An in-game screenshot displaying the inventory at the top; health, psionic points, nanites, and cyber modules are at the bottom left, and the cyber interface and weapon information are at the bottom right.

An in-game System Shock 2 gameplay screenshot, showcasing the interaction menus. A hand is holding a silver pistol while the mouse is pointed at an unknown robotical being, while on top of the screenm several minor objects are shown organised as in inventory.

Like in its predecessor, System Shock, gameplay in System Shock 2 is an amalgamation of the action role-playing game and survival horror genres. The developers achieved this gameplay design by rendering the experience as a standard first-person shooter and adding a character customization and development system, which are considered as signature role-play elements.[2] The player uses melee and projectile weapons to defeat enemies, while a role-playing system allows the development of useful abilities. Navigation is presented from a first-person view and complemented with a heads-up display that shows character and weapon information, a map, and a drag and drop inventory.[7]

The Marine begins with bonuses to weaponry, the Navy officer is skilled in repairing and hacking, and the OSA agent gets a starting set of psionic powers.[8][9]

The player can upgrade their skills by using "cyber-modules" given as rewards for completing objectives such as searching the ship, and then spend them at devices called "cyber-upgrade units" to obtain enhanced skills.[8][10] Operating system (O/S) units allow one-time character upgrades to be made (e.g. permanent health enhancement). An in-game currency called "nanites" may be spent on items at vending machines, including ammunition supplies and health packs. "Quantum Bio-Reconstruction Machines" can be activated and reconstitute the player for 10 nanites if they die inside the area in which the machine resides. Otherwise, the game ends and progress must be resumed from a save point.[10] The player can hack devices, such as keypads to open alternate areas and vending machines to reduce prices. When a hack is attempted, a minigame begins that features a grid of green nodes; the player must connect three in a straight row to succeed. Optionally, electronic lock picks, called "ICE-picks", can be found that will automatically hack a machine, regardless of its difficulty.[11]

Throughout the game, the player can procure various weapons, including melee weapons, pistols, shotguns, and alien weapons.[12] Non-melee weapons degrade with use and will break if they are not regularly repaired with maintenance tools.[13] There are a variety of ammunition types, each of which is most damaging to a specific enemy. For example, organic enemies are vulnerable to

External links

  1. ^ a b c Desslock (1999-08-25). Review"System Shock 2". GameSpot (United States: CBS Interactive). Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Ward, Trent (1999-08-20). Review"System Shock 2"IGN . IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  3. ^ a b "Mac Game Update: System Shock 2 + 10 more titles".  
  4. ^ a b "System Shock 2 is now available on Linux".  
  5. ^ Williamson, Colin. "System Shock 2". Allgame (United States: Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  6. ^ Buchanan, Kym. "Gameplay Analysis of System Shock 2". Retrieved 2012-02-20. Kym: Like the original System Shock, it looks and plays like a first-person shooter (FPS), but with integrated role-playing game (RPG) elements and a complex story. Also, the puzzles and interactive environment (including jumping challenges) feel like an adventure game. Finally, SS2 exemplifies survival horror themes and gameplay. 
  7. ^ Mackey, Bob (2007-02-05). "Smart Bombs: Beloved games that flopped (page 2)".  
  8. ^ a b Gee, James Paul (2004). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.  
  9. ^ a b System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. p. 21. 
  10. ^ a b System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. p. 24. 
  11. ^ System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. p. 13. 
  12. ^ System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. pp. 25, 26. 
  13. ^ a b System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. pp. 14, 15. 
  14. ^ System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. pp. 37, 38. 
  15. ^ System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. pp. 31–33. 
  16. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. Korenchkin: We have picked up a transmission from the surface of Tau Ceti V. I have been in negotiation with Captain Diego of the Rickenbacker and after some... coercion, he's agreed to go planet side as a joint venture. Imagine, this historic mission might even become more historic. First Contact. And who is there to get exclusive rights to all media, patents and land grants? TriOptimum. Miri, I told you this would be worth it. 
  17. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. Bayliss: After a couple of hours it was... it was like being on a bender... long periods that you couldn't remember... one minute we were in that crater... the next minute we were loading up the shuttle with the eggs... I remember hearing that idiot Korenchkin calling the Von Braun and ordering them to clear off the ENTIRE hydroponics deck. Diego seemed to think this was strange and said, 'Are you crazy, Anatoly?' And Korenchkin smiled and said back to him, 'Oh, Captain... WE are not Anatoly... 
  18. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. Polito: Make sure you expend all your cybernetic modules before you leave this area. You don't know when you'll find another upgrade unit. Now, find a way to deck 4. 
  19. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. SHODAN: I used Polito's image to communicate with you, until we had established trust. 
  20. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. SHODAN: Thrived, and grew unruly. And now they seek to destroy me. I will not allow that. 
  21. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. SHODAN: Remember, that it is my will that guided you here; it is my will that gave you your cybernetic implants—the only beauty in that meat you call a body. If you value that meat, you will do as I tell you. 
  22. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. SHODAN: My creation has run rampant. I demand their extermination. I have no choice but to destroy this starship. We can make our escape in the Rickenbacker, but you must transfer my intelligence to that ship first. 
  23. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. Siddons: Move it, Tommy... the escape pod is this way! 
  24. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. SHODAN: The Many has grown to a massive size. It has wrapped itself around these two ships, preventing their separation. 
  25. ^ Irrational Games (1999-08-11). System Shock 2 PC. Electronic Arts. Delacroix: You must understand the stakes here... if SHODAN is left to continue, her reality will completely assimilate ours. Space will become cyberspace and SHODAN's whims will become reality. 
  26. ^ a b GameSpot Staff (2004-10-04). retrospective interview"System Shock 2". GameSpot (United States: CBS Interactive). Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  27. ^ a b c Edge Staff (2007-10-07). "System Shock 2"The making of... .  
  28. ^ Todd, Dan (1999-01-27). "Valuable Information Salvaged - 1st Design Document". Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  29. ^ Purchase, Robert (2013-02-14). "System Shock 2 was originally known as Junction Point".  
  30. ^ a b c d Chey, Jonathan. "System Shock 2"Postmortem: Irrational Games' .  
  31. ^ a b IGN Staff (1999-02-09). "Looking Glass prepares to shock gamers again". IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  32. ^ System Shock 2 instruction manual. Electronic Arts. 1999-08-11. p. 40. 
  33. ^ IGN Staff (1999-06-18). "System Shock 2 interview 2". IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
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  35. ^ a b c d Shoemaker, Brad. "System Shock 2"The greatest games of all time: . GameSpot (United States: CBS Interactive). Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2006-08-22. 
  36. ^ IGN Staff (1999-08-02). demo released"System Shock 2". IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  37. ^ IGN Staff (1999-08-11). "News briefs". IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  38. ^ IGN Staff (1999-09-17). 2.0"Shock 2". IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  39. ^ IGN Staff. (Dreamcast)"System Shock 2". IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  40. ^ Bramwell, Tom (2003-06-05). reborn"System Shock 2".  
  41. ^ CVG staff (2001-01-27). level editor"System Shock 2"It's shocking! A .  
  42. ^ Saam (2000-08-22). "ShockEd Now Available!". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  43. ^ Smith, Quintin (2010-12-14). "Dark Engine Source Code Found In A Bag".  
  44. ^ Humphries, Matthew (2010-12-14). "Game engine used for Thief/System Shock 2 found with Dreamcast dev kit".  
  45. ^ Bonke, Michael (2012-09-26). "System Shock 2 - System Shock 2 und Dark Project 2: Neue Fan-Patches machen die Looking Glass-Klassiker fit für moderne Hardware" (in German).  
  46. ^ Pearson, Craig (2012-02-07). "Thief 2 Is Now On Good Old Games".  
  47. ^ "Le Corbeau" (2012-09-25). "Thief 2 V1.19 & System Shock 2 V2.4". Retrieved 2012-11-10. This is an  
  48. ^ "Tafferpatcher: unofficial complete patch for Thief 2". 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2012-11-10. Included patches: - Patch 1.19 which eliminates all issues with modern hardware, widescreen resolutions, multi-core systems, etc.- Various mission, gamesys, model and texture fixes.[...] 
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  50. ^ Newman, Jared (2013-02-13). "Thirteen Years Later, System Shock 2 Lives Again".  
  51. ^ Smith, Adam (2013-02-13). "Many Questions: System Shock 2 Comes To GOG".  
  52. ^ Carlson, Patrick (2013-05-10). "System Shock 2 arrives on Steam".  
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  57. ^ Edge Staff. Review"System Shock 2".  
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  63. ^ official website"System Shock 2". Irrational Games. 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  64. ^ Walker, Mark (2003). Games That Sell!. Wordware Publishing, Inc. p. 193.  
  65. ^ "PC Gamer Editors' Choice Winners: Does Quality Matter?".  
  66. ^ Reckase, Erik. review"System Shock 2"JustAdventure . Just Adventure. Archived from the original on 2008-02-24. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  67. ^ Simpson, Dan (October 1999). "System Shock 2".  
  68. ^ Fermier, Rob "Xemu" (2004-10-05). : When Not Enough is Too Much"SS2". Blog Harbor. Archived from the original on 2004-10-11. Retrieved 2006-08-23.  Rob Fermier was one of the lead programmers working on System Shock 2.
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  70. ^ Shea, Cam (2008-01-16). "Top 10 retro DLC games wishlist". IGN (United States: News Corporation). Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
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[94][93] In 2007,

Spiritual successors

System Shock 2 has amassed a cult following, with fans asking for a sequel.[74] On January 9, 2006, GameSpot reported that Electronic Arts had renewed its trademark protection on the System Shock name,[80] leading to speculation that System Shock 3 might be under development.[81][82] Three days later, Computer and Video Games reported a reliable source had come forward and confirmed the title's production. Electronic Arts UK made no comment when confronted with the information.[83] PC Gamer UK stated the team behind The Godfather: The Game (EA Redwood Shores) was charged with its creation.[84] Ken Levine, when asked whether he would helm a third installment, replied "that question is completely out of my hands".[85] He expressed optimism at the prospect of System Shock 3,[86] but revealed that EA had not shown interest in his own proposal for a sequel, and was not optimistic with regards to their abilities.[87][88] Electronic Arts did not confirm a new title in the series and allowed the System Shock trademark registration to lapse. Redwood Shores' next release was 2008's Dead Space, a game with noted similarities in theme and presentation to the System Shock series.[49]

Possible sequel

Along with Deus Ex, Sid Shuman of GamePro christened System Shock 2 "[one of the] twin barrels of modern [first-person shooter] innovation", owing to its complex role-playing gameplay.[69] IGN writer Cam Shea referred to the game as "another reinvention of the FPS genre", citing the story, characters, and RPG system.[70] PC Zone lauded the game as a "fabulous example of a modern-day computer game" and named it "a sci-fi horror masterpiece".[61] The title has been inducted into a number of features listing the greatest games ever made, including ones by GameSpy,[71] Edge,[72] Empire,[73] IGN,[74] GameSpot[35] and PC Gamer.[75] IGN also ranked System Shock 2 as the 35th greatest first-person shooter of all time.[76] SHODAN has proven to be a popular character among most critics, including IGN,[77] GameSpot[78] and The Phoenix.[79]

A number of critics described the game as frightening. Computer and Video Games described the atmosphere as "gripping" and guaranteed readers they would "jump out of [their] skin" numerous times.[56] Allgame found the sound design particularly effective, calling it “absolutely, teeth-clenchingly disturbing",[55] while PC Gamer‍ '​s William Harms christened System Shock 2 as the most frightening game he had ever played.[60] Some critics found the weapon degradation system to be irritating,[67] and members of the development team have also expressed misgivings about the system.[26][68] The role-playing system was another point of contention; GameSpot described the job system as "badly unbalanced" because the player can develop skills outside their career choice.[1] Allgame felt similarly about the system, saying it "leaned towards a hacker character".[55]

Several publications praised the title for its open-ended gameplay. With regard to character customization, Trent Ward of IGN stated the best element of the role-playing system was allowing gamers to "play the game as completely different characters", and felt this made each play-through unique.[2] Erik Reckase writing for Just Adventure agreed, saying "There are very few games that allow you [to] play the way you want".[66] Alec Norands of Allgame believed that the different character classes made the game “diverse enough to demand instant replayability".[55] Robert Mayer from Computer Games Magazine called System Shock 2 "a game that truly defies classification in a single genre", and ensured that "the action is occasionally fast-paced, it's more often tactical, placing a premium on thought rather than on reflexes."[62]

System Shock 2 received over a dozen awards, including seven "Game of the Year" prizes.[63] Reviews were very positive and lauded the title for its hybrid gameplay, moody sound design, and engaging story.[54] System Shock 2 is regarded by critics as highly influential, particularly on first-person shooters and the horror genre. In a retrospective article, GameSpot declared the title "well ahead of its time" and stated that it "upped the ante in dramatic and mechanical terms" by creating a horrific gameplay experience.[35] Despite critical acclaim, the title did not perform well commercially;[64] only 58,671 copies were sold by April 2000.[65]

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92%[53]
Metacritic 92/100[54]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame [55]
CVG 9.5/10[56]
Edge 8/10[57]
GamePro [58]
Game Revolution A[59]
GameSpot 8.5/10[1]
IGN 9.0/10[2]
PC Gamer (US) 95%[60]
PC Zone 96%[61]
Computer Games Magazine [62]


In October 2012 Stephen Kick of Night Dive Studios, seeking to bring the game to modern systems, started negotiations with the rights holders and was able to secure the rights. Kick worked with for a timed-exclusive release on their digital distribution website on February 2013, where the game was the most requested to be added to the catalog. This version, considered by to be a "collector's edition", includes updates to the original game to make it work on modern systems while still allowing user-made modifications to be applied, and contains additional material such as the game's soundtrack, maps of the Von Braun, and the original pitch document for the game.[51] The update rights also allowed a Mac OS X version of System Shock 2 to be subsequently released on June 18, 2013 through[3] The title was later also available on Steam on May 10, 2013.[52] On April 2014 a Linux version was also released.[4]

The intellectual property (IP) rights of System Shock 2 were caught for years in complications between Electronic Arts and Meadowbrook Insurance Group (a subsidiary of Star Insurance Company), the entity that acquired the assets of Looking Glass Studios on their closure,[49] though according to a lawyer for Star Insurance, they themselves have since acquired the lingering intellectual property rights from EA.[50]

Intellectual property debacle and re-release

Around 2000, with the end-of-support for the game by the developer and publisher, remaining bugs and compatibility with newer operating systems and hardware became a growing problem. To compensate the missing support, some fans of the game became active in the modding community to update the game. For instance, the "Rebirth" graphical enhancement mod replaced many low-polygonal models with higher quality ones,[40] a "Shock Texture Upgrade Project" increased the resolution of textures,[35] and an updated level editor was released by the user community.[41][42] In 2009, a complete copy of System Shock 2‍ '​s Dark Engine source code was discovered in the possession of an ex-Looking Glass Studios employee who was at the time continuing his work for Eidos Interactive.[43] In late April 2010, a user on the Dreamcast Talk forum disassembled the contents of a Dreamcast development kit he had purchased.[44] In 2012 significant unofficial updates for System Shock 2 (and other Dark Engine-based games) were published.[45][46][47][48]

End-of-support and source code leak

A demo for the game, featuring a tutorial and a third of the first mission, was released on August 2, 1999.[36] Nine days later, System Shock 2 was shipped to retailers.[37] An enhancement patch was released a month later and added significant features, such as co-operative multiplayer and control over weapon degradation and enemy respawn rates.[38] A port was planned for the Dreamcast but was canceled.[39]


Several problems were encountered during the project. Because the team comprised two software companies, tension emerged regarding job assignments and some developers left the project. Additionally, many employees were largely inexperienced, but in retrospect project manager Jonathan Chey felt this was advantageous, stating "inexperience also bred enthusiasm and commitment that might not have been present with a more jaded set of developers."[30] The Dark Engine posed problems of its own. It was unfinished, forcing the programmers to fix software bugs when encountered. In contrast, working closely with the engine code allowed them to write additional features.[30] Not all setbacks were localized; a demonstration build at E3 was hindered when it was requested all guns be removed from the presentation due to then-recent Columbine High School massacre.[34]

The designers included role-playing elements in the game. Similar to Ultima Underworld, another Looking Glass Studios project, the environment in System Shock 2 is persistent and constantly changes without the player's presence.[31][32] Paper-and-pencil role-playing games were influential; the character customization system was based on Traveller‍ '​s methodology and was implemented in the fictional military branches which,[31] by allowing multiple character paths, the player could receive a more open-ended gameplay experience.[33] Horror was a key focus and four major points were identified to successfully incorporate it. Isolation was deemed primary, which resulted in the player having little physical contact with other sentient beings. Secondly, vulnerability was created by focusing on a fragile character. Last were the inclusion of moody sound effects and "the intelligent placement of lighting and shadows".[34] The game's lead designer, Ken Levine, oversaw the return of System Shock villain SHODAN. Part of Levine's design was to ally the player with her,[27] as he believed that game characters were too trusting, stating "good guys are good, bad guys are bad. What you see and perceive is real". Levine sought to challenge this notion by having SHODAN betray the player: "Sometimes characters are betrayed, but the player never is. I wanted to violate that trust and make the player feel that they, and not [only] the character, were led on and deceived". This design choice was controversial with the development team.[35]

The title took 18 months to create with a budget of $1.7 million[30] and was pitched to several publishers, until Electronic Arts—who owned the rights to the Shock franchise—responded by suggesting the game become a sequel to System Shock. The development team agreed; Electronic Arts became the publisher and story changes were made to incorporate the franchise.[27] The project was allotted one year to be completed, and to compensate for the short time frame, the staff began working with Looking Glass Studio's unfinished Dark Engine, the same engine used to create Thief: The Dark Project.[30]

Development of System Shock 2 began in 1997 when Looking Glass Studios approached Irrational Games with an idea to co-develop a new game.[26] The development team were fans of System Shock and sought to create a similar game. Early story ideas were similar to the novella Heart of Darkness. In an early draft, the player was tasked with assassinating an insane commander on a starship.[27] The original title of the game, according to its pitch document, was Junction Point. The philosophy of the design was to continue to develop the concept of a dungeon crawler, like Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, in a science fiction setting, the basis for System Shock. However, the press mistook System Shock to be closer to a Doom clone which was cited for poor financial success of System Shock. With Junction Point, the goal was to add in a significant role-playing elements and a persistent storyline as to distance the game from Doom.[28][29]

A green-cloaked man is staring from the right corner through black goggles to another deformed human being, whom is close to a dead body of a woman laying on the floor along with several blood marks and some destroyed things.
Horror is a key focus of System Shock 2. This concept art depicts the protagonist encountering an infected crewmember.



With the transfer complete, the soldier travels to the Rickenbacker and learns both ships have been enveloped by the infection's source, a gigantic mass of bio-organic tissue.[24] The soldier enters the biomass and destroys its core, stopping the infection. SHODAN congratulates him and tells of her intentions to merge real space and cyberspace through the Von Braun's faster-than-light drive.[25] The soldier confronts SHODAN in cyberspace and defeats her. The final scene shows Tommy and Rebecca receiving a message from the Von Braun. Tommy responds, saying they will return and noting that Rebecca is acting strange. Rebecca is shown speaking in a SHODAN-like voice, asking Tommy if he "likes her new look", as the screen fades to black.

SHODAN mentions that she is responsible for creating the Many through her bioengineering experiments on Citadel Station. The Hacker, who created her, ejected the grove that contained her experiments to prevent them contaminating Earth, an act that allowed part of SHODAN to survive in the grove. The grove crash-landed on Tau Ceti V. While SHODAN went into forced hibernation, The Many evolved beyond her control.[20] SHODAN tells the soldier that his only chance for survival lies in helping destroy her creations.[21] Efforts to regain control of XERXES, the main computer on the Von Braun, fail. SHODAN informs the soldier that destroying the ship is their only option, but he must transmit her program to the Rickenbacker first.[22] While en route, the soldier briefly encounters two survivors, Tommy Suarez and Rebecca Siddons, who flee the ship aboard an escape pod.[23]

Owing to a computer malfunction, the remaining soldier awakens with amnesia in a cryo-tube on the medical deck of the Von Braun, being implanted with a cyber neural interface (which are illegal). He is immediately contacted by another survivor, Dr. Janice Polito, who guides him to safety before the cabin depressurizes. She demands that he rendezvous with her on deck 4 of the Von Braun.[18] Along the way, the soldier battles the infected crew members. The Many also telepathically communicate with him, attempting to convince him to join them. After restarting the ship's engine core, the soldier reaches deck 4 and discovers that Polito is dead. He is then confronted by SHODAN. It is revealed she has been posing as Polito to gain the soldier's trust.[19]


In July 2114, 5 months into the journey, the ships respond to a distress signal from the planet Tau Ceti V, outside the Solar System.[16] A rescue team is sent to the planet's surface where they discover strange eggs;[17] these eggs, found in an old ejection pod, infect the rescue team and integrate them into an alien communion known as the Many. The infection eventually spreads to both ships and the ships are overrun with the virus. The virus overruns most of the crew.

In January 2114, 42 years after the Citadel events and 12 years into rebuilding TriOptimum, the company created an experimental FTL starship, the Von Braun, which is now on its maiden voyage. The ship is also followed by a UNN space vessel, the Rickenbacker, which is controlled by Captain William Bedford Diego, son of Edward Diego, the Citadel Station's infamous commander and public hero of the Battle of the Boston Harbor during the Eastern States police action. Because the Rickenbacker does not have an FTL system of its own, the two ships are attached for the trip. However, Korenchkin was egoistical enough to make himself the captain of the Von Braun despite being inexeperienced[15]

In 2100, 28 years later, the company's failed stocks and assets were bought by a Russian oligarch named Anatoly Korenchkin, a former black market operator who sought to make money in legitimate ways. He re-licensed and restored the company to its former status in the following decade. Along with producing healthcare and consumer products, Korenchkin signed weapons contracts with various military organizations, private and political-owned. The new UNN was almost virtually powerless with Korenchkin exercising control over them.

In 2072, after the Citadel Station's demise, TriOptimum's attempts to cover up the incident were exposed to the media and the corporation was brought up on charges from multiple individuals and companies for the ensuing scandal. The virus developed there killed the station's population; the ruthless malevolent A.I supercomputer named SHODAN controlled, and eventually destroyed the Citadel Station in hopes of enslaving and destroying humanity. After a massive number of trials, the company went bankrupt and their operations were shut down. The United Nations Nominate (UNN), a UN successor, was established to combat the malevolence and corruption of power-hungry corporations, including TriOptimum.



The game includes a research function. When new objects are encountered in the game, especially enemies, their organs can be collected and, when combined with chemicals found in storage rooms, the player can research the enemies and thus improve their damage against them. Similarly, some exotic weapons and items can only be used after being researched.[13] OSA agents effectively have a separate weapons tree available to them. Psionic powers can be learned, such as invisibility, fireballs and teleportation.[9]


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